Facing a shortfall of up to 40,000 Black donors over the next three years, a new campaign is encouraging Black teens aged 16 or over to register to donate their ‘first pint’ of blood once they turn 17.

first pint
Promisingly, young people currently make up the highest proportion of blood donors

Organised by NCS (National Citizen Service) and NHS Blood and Transplant, the ‘My First Pint’ initiative aims to boost the usual 135,000 new donors a year, ensuring there is the right mix of people giving blood.

In particular, more Black donors are urgently needed because we are more likely to have the blood types needed by Black patients in need. While a new generation of young Black Britons are already regularly donating, ever more Black blood donors are needed.

Parents, if you have a teenager in this age group, could you encourage them to make a donation, safe in the knowledge that their contribution will make a real impact to ensure the long-term supply of blood?

“Parents, if you have a teenager in this age group, could you encourage them to make a donation?”

Black people are ten times more likely than white people to have the vitally important Ro blood subtype, which is vital for treating sickle cell disease, yet only around 1.5% of current blood donors are Black. An additional 40,000 Black donors are needed over the next three years.

Promisingly, young people currently make up the highest proportion of blood donors and NHS Blood and Transplant wants them to continue leading the way and keep saving lives to help ensure the right mix of blood types and donors for the future.

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant says: “We need 400 people to register as new donors every day to maintain the blood supply, for the best chance of keeping hearts pumping. For many reasons it’s vital that young people continue to register and donate – particularly young men and Black people – not least because older people become less likely to be able to donate blood.

“Do something amazing and register to give blood now to start saving lives, especially if you live or work near to one of our donor centres.”

Teens can register on the NHS ‘Give Blood’ website where they can make an appointment to donate when they are 16, with the opportunity to donate from their 17th birthday.

Donation slots are available five months following registration, and donors can rest assured that there are extra safety measures in place during Covid-19.


Register for a blood donation appointment via the NHS Give Blood website.

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